A Tribute to Charlie Manuel
We as Phillies fans didn't always respect you, believe in you, or think you had it in you to get the job done. We thought we could do better with someone else... Lou Piniella possibly. Jim Leyland. Maybe even Mike Schmidt.
We thought you were just here because you and Thome were close. We thought you didn't have what it takes to manage this ballclub.
But we were wrong.
You were the man for us. You did a phenomenal job this season. 2008 World Series Champions! We never thought that would happen. Many of us don't even remember the last time a Philly team won anything.
We weren't always nice to you, but we respect you now. You proved yourself over, not just this year, but last year. Last year, you became the first Philles' manager in 14 years to take us to the playoffs. This year, you did us better.
Not only did we repeat as N.L. East champions, but we knocked off the great CC Sabathia in the first-round of the playoffs. Then we toppled the mighty Manny and the Dodgers. And then we hung tough through Mother Nature and the those blind mice to win it all over the Rays.
You deserve credit for developing the core of our team—Howard, Utley, J-Roll, Hamels & that devastating change-up of his. You brought in some key pitchers—the ageless Jamie Moyer and Lights Out Lidge, You got the guys that nobody wanted—The Flyin' Hawaiian and that unhittable Romero. You made a killer move, picking up Joe Blanton in mid-season.
You hung tough when we criticized your managing (see Howard Eskin). You rebounded from an awful start in '07 (11-14 in April). We should have known you were a trooper, that you'd never give up. You didn't give up when that pitch shattered your jaw back in the Japanese League, did you? You missed just two weeks, and returned to take your team to the pennant.
We admit it; there are times when we've laughed at you. We've joked about your weight, your speech impediment, and your press conferences. We've scorned you for some of your decisions (Freddy Garcia? Jon Lieber?) We still don't understand what you saw in Adam Eaton. But we forgive you, and we'll look past your mistakes.
You coaxed a Rookie of the Year and an MVP season out of Howard in '06 and another MVP from J-Roll in '07. You got a perfect season from Lidge in '08. You helped Hamels become the hottest pitcher in baseball.
You stayed patient with Brett Myers, to the point where we as fans would have dumped him for nothing. Your patience paid off down the stretch when Myers became a dominating pitcher (and hitter). You turned Dobbs into the best pinch-hitter in baseball.
And you've remained here through the boos, the losses, and the hard times.
And you rewarded us as fans with a World Championship. And for that, Charlie, we thank you. Thank you for all you've done.
Phillies Phans Everywhere
P.S. Maybe you could give Andy some pointers on how to win the big game...
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